Panthers inch closer to playoff berth with upset of Sagehens

Nick Dragovich (Larry Newman Photography)
Nick Dragovich (Larry Newman Photography)

ORANGE, Calif. – Narrowing in on its first-ever SCIAC playoff berth, the Chapman University men's basketball team defeated Pomona-Pitzer, 55-49 at the Hutton Sports Center on Saturday night. The Panthers' third straight victory over the second-ranked team in the conference sent a message to the rest of the SCIAC while avenging a double-overtime loss at the hands of the Sagehens in January.

Junior G Colin Zavrsnick paced the Panthers in the first half, scoring 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-8 from three-point range. The Chapman defense held up their end of the bargain as well, limiting the typically hot-handed Pomona-Pitzer (16-7, 11-3 SCIAC) to just 34.5 percent (10-for-29) shooting in the first half to take a 31-23 lead into the break.

In the second half, Chapman (14-9, 8-6 SCIAC) continued their strong defense and timely scoring. Senior F Nick Dragovich scored 11 of his 15 points in the half, including a clutch layup in the final minute to ward off a Sagehens rally that had narrowed Chapman's lead to two. The duo of Zavrsnick and Dragovich, who combined for 37 of the Panthers' 55 points, scored the contests final five points to secure the win.

Despite shooting a season-low 18.8 percent from three-point range (3-for-16), the Panthers recorded the win to move one win shy (combined with a La Verne loss) of a playoff berth with two games remaining.

The Panthers will close out their home schedule on Wednesday with a matchup against the Caltech Beavers slated for a 7:30 p.m. start. The regular season will come to a close for the men on Saturday when they face La Verne on the road at 5 p.m.

Box score:

by Mitchell Eby
Sports Information Intern

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